The UAE’s Lobbying Powerhouse: Mapping Its Influence on French Decision-Making

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A recent investigation sheds light on the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) discreet lobbying efforts in France, mobilizing media outlets, companies, and think tanks to further its interests and exert influence on French politics. This strategic partnership between the UAE and France aims to combat political Islam, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, while fostering cooperation in various sectors such as defense and energy. 

The Stubborn Lobby: Unveiling the Emirati Influence Strategy:

An investigation published by Orient XXI magazine reveals the secrets of the Emirati lobby’s activities within the French corridors of power, employing what it calls a “stubborn lobby” strategy. This investigation exposes the mechanisms used by the UAE to influence influencers, opinion leaders, and decision-makers in France, shaping decisions and perceptions that align with Emirati interests in critical areas.

Targeting Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood:

The UAE’s lobby incites against Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood, waging a fierce campaign against political Islam as a whole. The investigation highlights how the UAE aims to persuade French decision-makers to support Abu Dhabi’s geopolitical orientations in the region, leveraging French assistance in various areas, including the Yemeni conflict, arms deals, and regional movements.

Recruiting Media and Think Tanks:

The UAE has recruited influential media outlets like Euronews and private research centers such as the Bussola Institute to serve its interests, polish its image, and enhance its position in France. For instance, in 2017, the Abu Dhabi Media Investment Company acquired a 2% stake in Euronews, offering significant financial support. This investigation also reveals the UAE’s efforts to attract French politicians, such as Senator Nathalie Goulet, who has been involved in promoting the UAE’s agenda in combating terrorism financing.

Emirati Involvement and Geopolitical Messaging:

The UAE’s lobby in France focuses not only on criticizing Qatar but also on shaping perceptions of the Muslim Brotherhood. Through parliamentary friendship groups and political alliances, the narrative linking Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood, and terrorism gains traction among French parliamentarians. This influence is reflected in the passing of legislation to reinforce the principles of the French Republic to combat Islamic separatism.

Concerns and Unintended Consequences:

The reinforcement of France’s repressive measures specifically targeting the Muslim Brotherhood raises concerns among human rights associations. Such narratives associating the Muslim Brotherhood with terrorism may contribute to growing hostility towards Muslims in Europe and potentially destabilize European societies in the long run.

The UAE’s discreet lobbying and influence campaign in France reflect the strategic partnership between the two countries and their shared objectives in countering political Islam. Through media manipulation, think tank engagement, and political alliances, the UAE aims to shape narratives and advance its geopolitical interests. However, these efforts raise concerns about the potential consequences for religious and social cohesion in Europe. Understanding the dynamics of this influence campaign is essential for assessing its impact on French politics and the broader European context.

 

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